This section of the News and Media Services department site tracks stories in print and broadcast media that feature Auggie faculty, students, and staff. The area also is home to material developed for University-related programs, events, and more.
Najeeba Syeed, El-Hibri chair and executive director of Interfaith at Augsburg, has been named a senior fellow of the Oxford Interfaith Forum. Reciprocally, Director of the Oxford Interfaith Forum Thea Gomelauri will join Augsburg’s Interfaith Institute as a senior fellow this fall. This mutual fellowship is a distinct characteristic of the institutions’ partnership, which will focus on issues of peace, justice, intercultural and interfaith education, and furthering interreligious learning across the globe.
Gomelauri is a faculty member of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Oxford and has extensive experience in research, teaching, and consultancy in different international, and intercultural contexts. She is a member of the Jewish-Muslim Research Network, the Bible and Religions of the Ancient Near East Collective, and the British and Irish Association of Jewish Studies.
As Augsburg’s El-Hibri chair and executive director of Interfaith Institute, Syeed serves as a national ambassador for the interfaith movement and faculty advisor for Augsburg’s Interfaith Scholars. She is a professor, expert practitioner, and public speaker in the fields of interfaith studies, mediation, conflict resolution, deliberative democracy, and social, gender, and racial equity.
“This fellowship serves as an anchor for our collaborative work of Interfaith Institute at Augsburg University and the Oxford Interfaith Forum,” Syeed says. “We look forward to collaborating in the United States, United Kingdom, and across the globe.”
More than 855 Augsburg University undergraduate students were named to the 2023 Spring Semester Dean’s List. The Augsburg University Dean’s List recognizes those full-time students who have achieved a grade point average of 3.50 or higher and those part-time students who have achieved a grade point average of 3.75 or higher in a given term.
Inside Higher Ed recently interviewed Robert Gould, vice president for strategic enrollment management, about the shift in admissions counselors’ role under the Augsburg Applies to You platform and its direct admissions approach. Augsburg will welcome its first class admitted fully through direct admissions this fall.
The move reflects “a culture shift and a new operational model at the institution,” according to Inside Higher Ed. “Admissions counselors, traditionally the spokespeople for the university in enticing a student to apply and enroll, are shifting from their role from transactional to more of a student success coach.” This includes multiple touch-points after a student has been admitted to identify and prioritize financial and academic goals, provide personalized support, and build relationships.
Following a national search, Rachel Bergman has been named the inaugural Leland B. Sateren ’35 Professor and Endowed Chair of Music at Augsburg University.
The Augsburg Music Department focuses on music-making as an act of healing, an act of global citizenship, and an act of anti-racism. The Sateren chair works to advance the department’s commitments to inclusion, access, equity, and belonging. In this role, Bergman will serve as a local and national spokesperson for the department’s distinctive programs and learning opportunities.
“The Sateren chair honors Augsburg’s long tradition of musical excellence,” said President Paul C. Pribbenow. “Dr. Bergman’s appointment builds on this legacy as we celebrate the rich diversity of our students’ musical gifts, experiences, interests, and expressions. We are delighted to welcome her to Augsburg and the Schwartz School of the Arts.”
Regent John Schwartz ’67, who established the endowed chair in memory of renowned Augsburg choral conductor and composer Leland Sateren ’35, noted that Bergman joins Augsburg at an exciting time. “The university is poised to move into a new era of interdisciplinary curriculum in the arts with energetic and creative faculty like Dr. Bergman leading the way.”
An active flutist and advocate of new music, Bergman currently serves as director of academic initiatives and arts outreach at Sheridan College in northern Wyoming. Her previous roles at Sheridan College include dean of visual and performing arts and dean of online learning. She has also served as associate professor of music theory and director of graduate studies for the School of Music at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, and as a flute instructor at the Skidmore Summer Flute Institute in Saratoga Springs, New York.
“I am thrilled to be joining Augsburg University this fall,” said Bergman. “I’m particularly excited about serving in a liberal arts institution with a focus on students and community. I truly believe that music should be accessible to all, and I look forward to working with the Music Department to strengthen the role of music throughout the university and with our neighbors.”
In addition to teaching, Bergman researches, promotes, and performs contemporary works for flute in solo and chamber settings. Her academic research focuses on the works of Viktor Ullmann, a Jewish, Austro-Hungarian composer who was killed in the Holocaust. A past president of the Music Theory Society of the Mid-Atlantic and a member of Assisi Performing Arts (Italy), Bergman has presented papers and lecture-recitals both nationally and internationally. She holds a doctorate in music theory from Yale University and a bachelor of arts in music and mathematics from Skidmore college.
“Dr. Bergman’s lifelong commitment to meeting students where they are, along with her track record as a dynamic leader, effective administrator, and tenured professor at a large research university, make her a stellar addition to our faculty,” said Paula O’Loughlin, provost and senior vice president for academic and student affairs.
“Rachel Bergman’s vision for music at Augsburg aligns with the trajectory of our talented music faculty,” said Ryan Haaland, dean of arts and sciences. “She brings a wealth of experience as an educator and leader that will serve our students and campus well.”
Augsburg offers a variety of bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music, with specializations in music business, music education, and music therapy, plus choral and instrumental ensembles that are open to all students.
On National College Decision Day, Inside Higher Ed published the latest in a series of articles examining direct admissions as a new trend shaping higher education enrollment management.
“All year, Inside Higher Ed has been watching Augsburg University, which is one of the few colleges to admit all its students this year through direct admissions,” wrote editor Scott Jaschik. Robert Gould, vice president of strategic enrollment management, cited increases in deposits, students of color, Pell Grant-eligible students, and male students in the first year of the Augsburg Applies to You direct admissions model. At the same time, the academic profile of the incoming class is slightly higher than last year’s.
“Gould said his message for others in admissions is very simple: “copy and adapt” what Augsburg has done.”
Najeeba Syeed, El-Hibri endowed chair and executive director of Interfaith at Augsburg University, recently shared her perspective of unity during Ramadan with Minnesota Public Radio.
During the holy month of Ramadan, Muslims place extra emphasis on spiritual disciplines such as fasting, prayer, and reciting scripture. Those who are able fast between dawn and dusk and gather after sunset for a communal evening meal called Iftar. “What’s really lovely about Islam in America is that we’re the most ethnically diverse and racially diverse religious community in the U.S.,” Syeed told Jacob Aloi from MPR. She also noted that Ramadan and Iftar meals offer a unique opportunity for hospitality, interfaith work, and peacebuilding, “which is based on food and breaking bread together, for sitting at the same table. It’s really hard to fight afterward.”
Last week, the City of Minneapolis honored the Sabo Center for Democracy and Citizenship with a Local Public Health HeroAward in the category of Healthy Living and Healthy Food Systems. Project Manager Jenean Gilmer, Food Initiatives Program Manager Natalie Jacobson, and Director of Community Relations Steve Peacock were specifically recognized for their efforts. Paula Guinn and Sieglinde Thetard from The People’s Center nominated the Sabo Center for their food access work in the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood. They wrote:
“Augsburg University’s Sabo Center for Democracy and Citizenship works to build community connections and engagement in pursuit of more equitable systems and resources in the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood. The Center plays a major role in food access and systems work through the Cedar-Riverside Food Initiative group, which draws representatives from healthcare organizations, community-service centers, higher education institutions, and local non-profits. They have shown great leadership in their dedication to continuing food access work as a collective, which is exemplified by their commitment to uplifting diverse community voices to shape and direct food initiatives.
“The Center has been instrumental in connecting neighborhood organizations and community members with fresh produce and healthy shelf-stable items. For example, the team works with Health Commons, a healthcare collective, to distribute thousands of pounds of free fresh produce to community members in and around Riverside Plaza. The Center has also made a significant impact in building sustainable food-distribution models that incorporate grassroots organizations into existing food distribution frameworks and community programming. With so many long-term partnerships, The Sabo Center has a broad range of organizations and community members engaged in adapting existing and future programming to healthy living and healthy food system goals.”
Following a competitive bid process, Augsburg is moving forward with a new dining services contract with Aladdin Campus Dining, the university’s current provider, effective July 1, 2023. The new contract will feature multiple enhancements that reflect student feedback about dining options on campus. These enhancements include:
Additional offerings of food selections, including local restaurant features in the Dining Commons, local restaurant rotations in Nabo, and exploration of a dedicated halal station in the Dining Commons.
Extended evening service in the Dining Commons to 8:00 p.m.
Mobile ordering and pickup from Nabo and Einstein Bros. Bagels.
Significant investment in remodeling the Dining Commons, beginning this summer.
Addition of a 24/7 micro market on campus in 2024–25.
Tracking and management of sustainability commitments around local purchasing and waste management.
Importantly, this new contract maintains the meal plan pricing approved by the Board of Regents last fall; all other bids would have resulted in a noticeable increase in cost to students for the coming year. In addition, Aladdin will continue to serve chef-crafted meals made from scratch in the Dining Commons, sponsorship of Late Night Breakfast in the fall and spring semesters, post-sunset evening meals and breakfast pickups for students during Ramadan, and financial support for food insecurity programs on campus.
The selection process was led by a task force made up of students and staff from across the university, with support from an external food services consultant. Over the course of this academic year, the task force met with and surveyed students and student organizations, engaged college and university dining services providers across the country, received bids, and interviewed finalists in order to secure the best possible contract for the campus community.
Augsburg University announced today the creation of the John N. Schwartz ’67 School of the Arts, a destination arts hub for music, theater, and art and design. An estate gift from Augsburg alumnus John N. Schwartz ’67 will establish the school.
“With their power to connect, illuminate, break boundaries, and build relationships, the arts have been a vital part of Augsburg’s mission and community life for more than 150 years,” said University President Paul C. Pribbenow. “At a time when support for the arts in public life and education has become contingent and vulnerable, Augsburg is tremendously grateful for John Schwartz’s visionary leadership in establishing an institutional home for music, theater, and art for many future generations of students.”
The Schwartz School of the Arts will house Augsburg’s 12 undergraduate majors in the performing and visual arts, as well as the master of music therapy program. Students and faculty in the departments of theater, music, and art and design will have new and greater opportunities for interdisciplinary, collaborative work across disciplines, including with other areas of the university.
“We believe that a standalone arts school at a place like Augsburg—a university with deep commitments to access and equity, and one of the most diverse institutions in the upper Midwest—will send a strong message to potential students that the arts are for everyone. Your gifts are valued here,” said Paula O’Loughlin, provost and senior vice president for academic and student affairs.
The performing and visual arts at Augsburg have long reflected the university’s mission in the commitments to artistic excellence, intentional diversity, civic engagement, and social justice embodied in each discipline. The new school is a refinement to the university’s institutional structure following the change from Augsburg College to Augsburg University in 2017. It also aligns with Augsburg’s role as an anchor institution in the Cedar-Riverside community of Minneapolis.
“The Schwartz School of the Arts will be a key venue for Augsburg to explore with our neighbors and our students how to build and expand access to cultural assets,” said Pribbenow.
As an undergraduate, John Schwartz sang baritone in the Augsburg choir, igniting a love of choral music that persisted throughout his 40-year career as a healthcare executive in Milwaukee, Oregon, Montana, and Chicago.
“My experiences at Augsburg are a perfect example of how a well-rounded liberal arts education provides a pathway not just to a career but to a full and meaningful life,” said Schwartz. “Whether singing in a choral ensemble, performing in a theater production, or sculpting in the studio, the arts provide opportunities to grow and connect that don’t exist anywhere else. With this new school, Augsburg is clearly stating that the performing and visual arts are central to our mission.”
A current member of Augsburg’s Board of Regents, Schwartz has long supported Augsburg music students. His previous gifts to the university established the Leland B. Sateren ’35 professorship and chair of music, the John N. Schwartz professor of choral leadership and conducting, and the John N. Schwartz and James A. Mosley scholarship.
The Schwartz School of the Arts is one of a number of transformational outcomes of Augsburg’s ongoing Great Returns: We’re All In comprehensive fundraising campaign. With a goal to raise $125 million, it is the largest such campaign in Augsburg history.
Augsburg University offers more than 50 undergraduate majors and 11 graduate degrees to approximately 3,200 students of diverse backgrounds at its campus in the vibrant center of the Twin Cities and nearby Rochester, Minnesota, location. Augsburg educates students to be informed citizens, thoughtful stewards, critical thinkers, and responsible leaders. An Augsburg education is defined by excellence in the liberal arts and professional studies, guided by the faith and values of the Lutheran church, and shaped by its urban and global settings. To learn more, visit Augsburg.edu/about.
Angel Young ’24 is among the 154 student civic leaders recently named to the 2023-24 cohort of Newman Civic Fellows by Campus Compact.
Campus Compact is a national coalition of colleges and universities committed to the public purposes of higher education. The Newman Civic Fellowship recognizes students who stand out for their commitment to creating positive change in communities locally and around the world. Fellows are nominated by Campus Compact member presidents and chancellors, who are invited to select one outstanding student from their campus each year.
A psychology major with a minor in sociology, Angel is involved in a number of activities and student groups on campus, including Augsburg’s Bonner Community Leaders Program, through which she works at the American Indian Student Services office on campus. She has held internship roles at Brooklyn City Hall and the Brooklyn Bridge Alliance for Youth, and has worked with the Children’s Defense Fund.
“As a child, I never dreamed that I would be someone with the power and voice to make a difference in the world,” said Angel in a personal statement. “I realize now that I make a greater impact with my words and actions as an adult with a voice than I ever imagined.”
Campus Compact provides Newman Fellows with a year of learning and networking opportunities that emphasize personal, professional, and civic growth. Each year, fellows participate in numerous virtual training and networking opportunities to help provide them with the skills and connections they need to create large-scale positive change. The cornerstone of the fellowship is the Annual Convening of Fellows, which offers intensive in-person skill-building and networking over the course of two days. The fellowship also provides fellows with pathways to apply for exclusive scholarship and post-graduate opportunities.
“From a young age, Angel has sought to find her voice and agency to make change in the world and help those around her,” wrote President Paul C. Pribbenow in his nomination letter. “Angel hopes to make a positive difference for young people by influencing public policy and creating awareness.”
“We are honored to recognize such an outstanding group of community-committed students,” said Campus Compact President Bobbie Laur. “One of the best parts of the Newman Civic Fellowships is the richness of students’ perspectives, experiences, and backgrounds—and how these varied stories all led to their passionate engagement with the social, political, and environmental issues impacting our world. These students will be the catalysts for change on many levels, and we are privileged to help empower them to create that change.”